Kidnapping/Smuggling Cuban Ballplayers (Leonys Martin Tapanes)

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
Miami (oh, Miami!)
Seems like an interesting story.  It could be a contract dispute dressed up as something nefarious, but there's also something shady about a company who moves people out of Cuba in exchange for 1/3 of any future baseball contract that's signed. 
The U.S. attorney’s office in Miami on Wednesday charged three people — Eliezer Lazo, 40, formerly of Miami Lakes, Joel Martinez Hernandez, 37, formerly of Miami-Dade, and Yilian Hernandez, 30, of Hialeah — with conspiring to smuggle, kidnap and extort the 25-year-old Rangers outfielder.
The trio are also charged with smuggling 13 other Cuban baseball prospects to the United States — all of them going from Cuba into Mexico and then into the United States.

Read more here:
Martin’s lawyer, in the counterclaim, offered a strikingly differently account, saying he signed Estrellas’ management agreement under duress.
The ballplayer’s counterclaim describes Estrellas as a “nonexistent entity that serves as a front for illegal activity, such as human smuggling and trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.”
Martin admits that while he was in the “involuntary custody of his kidnappers,” specifically naming Lazo and Martinez, he was provided with food, clothing and shelter as well as “intermittent opportunities to practice baseball.” He also said his family was provided similar support.
But Martin claims Estrellas’ operators held him “against his will” in Mexico while his family “remained hostages” at Lazo’s home in Miami-Dade.

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